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Rae Bareli: Three journalists get notices for reports on ‘diverting’ oxygen

Administration says news reports shared by them on social media false propaganda, in violation of IT Act.

Written by Manish Sahu | Lucknow |
May 4, 2021 12:45:07 am
Rae Bareli: Three journalists get notices for reports on ‘diverting’ oxygenSpeaking to The Indian Express, all three journalists claimed that they have submitted their reply to the district administration. (Representational Image)

THE Rae Bareli district administration has issued notices to three local journalists, seeking information on the sources for a news article that were published and posted on social media.

The reports alleged that “20 metric tonnes” of medical oxygen were diverted from Rae Bareli to neighbouring Kanpur in the midst of a public health emergency in the district. The district administration claimed that the allegations made in the news reports were “baseless and false”.

The administration also sought information from two journalists — Shivam Kumar Trivedi and Anuj Awasthi — about reports related to the oxygen supply in Hindi dailies Daily News Activist and Kanwhizz Times, respectively.

Anuj claims to be the bureau chief of Kanwhizz Times in Rae Bareli, while Shivam is the Rae Bareli correspondent for Daily News Activist.
The third journalist, identified as Durgesh Singh Chauhan, works for a local weekly Hindi newspaper, Rashtriya Kavach. He was also issued a notice about the article on the supply of oxygen to Kanpur which he shared on Facebook.

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On April 30, Additional District Magistrate (Administration), Rae Bareli, Ram Abhilash issued notices to the three journalists asking them to provide the source of the information that they shared on Facebook and also disclose the name of the person who wrote the article.

The administration claimed that their comments and the claims in the articles they shared on social media were found to be “prima facie false”.

The notices further stated that their comments were meant to mislead the public and peddle false propaganda, which tantamounts to a violation of section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

They also said if they don’t revert with their explanation before May 3, legal action will follow.

Speaking to The Indian Express, all three journalists claimed that they have submitted their reply to the district administration.

“We have replied to the administration,” said one of the journalists.

Additional District Magistrate Ram Abhilash said, “Notices were sent to them for circulating a piece of false information on Facebook that oxygen (from Rae Bareli) was sent to Kanpur. I have asked them to explain where they got such information. I have, so far, not received their replies.”

Awasthi wrote on social media, “Shashan mei apney number badhaney ke liye jin afsaro ney 20 tonne oxygen Kanpur bhejkar yahan ke logo ko maut ke muh mai dhakela hai. Unko Rae Bareli ki janta kabhi maaf nahi karegi (People of Rae Bareli will never forgive the government officers, who routed 20 tonnes of oxygen to Kanpur to be in the good books of their bosses, thereby putting many lives in danger).”

He was asked about a report published in Kanwhizz Times.

Further, the administration questioned Chauhan on his Facebook post saying, “#Raebareli@uttarpradesh koi toh hai jiski vajay sey Rae Bareli ki janta ka haq mara ja raha hai. janta ko pareshan kiya ja raha hai. Pehley 20 metric tonne oxygen kanpur gaye phir Priyanka Gandhi ney vishesh tank Raipur se bheja jismey 5 metric ton oxygen Rae Bareli ke haq ka oxygen tha woh bhi nahi mila (There is someone because of whom Rae bareli is deprived of its share. Firstly, 20 metric tonnes of oxygen was sent to Kanpur and even 5 metric tonnes of the total oxygen that was sent by (Congress leader) Priyanka Gandhi by a special tanker from Raipur was not given.)

He was also questioned for sharing an article in a Hindi daily on the alleged supply of oxygen to Kanpur.

Trivedi was asked to explain his comment, “Ziley mai aakaal, phir bhi Kanpur bheji gaye 20 tonne oxygen (At a time when the district is facing shortage, 20 tonnes of oxygen was sent to Kanpur).”

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